Back in 2013, I blogged about losing faith in BDUK after Hertfordshire published the upgrade map of exchanges for the project that would end in 2015 (now end of 2016/beginning of 2017!).
Last month Connected Counties who are running the upgrade for Herts and Bucks published a new map showing areas which would be upgraded as part of the “Superfast Extension Programme” and surprise surprise, my area isn’t going to be covered! Our exchange is going to be/has been upgraded, but the cabinet which supplies the entire of the village I live in, will not be upgraded.
So… will we be in the 2020 round of upgrades? Hahaha, I’d make a bet we’ll be missed out then too!
It seems to me the original goal of the rural broadband initiative has been lost along the way. My local broadband initiative group (Superfast for Herts/Connected Counties) upgrades cabinets in local towns which already have fast broadband available as it gives them the numbers required to hit targets, rather than providing faster broadband for rural communities.
Anyway, I lost my patience with the rural broadband initiative and when I found out from a villager that 4G was available locally and fast(!) I decided to try it out*.
It’s worth noting that it’s not particularly cheap to use 4G… If you decide to get a rolling contract, It’ll cost (16th October 2014) £20 for 15GB or £30 for 25GB. That might seem a lot of data when you don’t have fast broadband and only download an average of 10GB a month… But once you get faster broadband and start watching Video On Demand, you’ll soon eat all the data and possibly before you get to the end of the month!
Then there’s also the hardware you need to use your 4G connection. The providers will give you a dongle (not always free), but if you want to connect to your 4G connection via Ethernet, you’ll need a router.
So I bought (on recommendation from the villager) the Huawei B593s-22 LTE/4G Router (£138.36) along with a 6GB sim card (£15.66). When both items had arrived, I put the sim into the router and switched the router on. The sim card was instantly recognised, but needed to be registered (although you don’t have to register – click step 2!). After registration, I decided to find out how fast the connection was**…
For comparison, this is my home adsl broadband…
And this was the first 4G result!
What more can I say… I’m hooked!
* I’d recommend using the coverage checker before you decide to buy expensive hardware and enter a contract. Even better, if you already have a 4G tablet, buy a cheap 4G data sim and test whether you can get 4G in your house as that’s likely where you’ll use the new connection.
** Please note that if you are using 4G with limited data upload/download, note that the speedtest does use up quite a bit of data… I’ve already used 0.8GB of data in 3 days with very light use
Yesterday I lost my faith in BDUK and the entire process for superfast broadband. Hertfordshire published a map of roughly where they would be focusing on upgrading to superfast broadband and despite a demand of over 200 in my little area, they have left us out*. What is interesting is to compare demand (from their own website – see support in my area map) against the rollout map.
Purple and pink are going to be upgraded and blue will probably be upgraded. Orange and Red won’t be upgraded. Most of the purple areas are big towns which area already being upgraded by BT or have cable.
* They will try to achieve 2Mbps for everyone in the area, but there are no plans for superfast broadband.